Target’s Bullseye University for College Students

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It can be difficult for companies to reach Millennial shoppers. The media and Internet-savvy generation can be skeptical of marketing claims, preferring to use their own eyes and contacts to decide on purchases. This generation is used to shopping, living, communicating, and doing virtually everything online. Companies that want to reach this target market cannot depend on drawing them to their stores, but instead need to go directly to where the market lives. So, Target decided to go to the college students on their own turf and set up a four-day shoppable event featuring five popular YouTube personalities living in “Bullseye University” dorm rooms. From July 15 – 18, the five ‘students’ lived in a fishbowl and acted out college life scenarios.

To run the event, Target constructed a college dorm in Los Angeles to show off its back-to-school products and get young shoppers interested in the store’s offerings. In the custom-designed dorm rooms, five social media celebrities –  Chester See, Meekakitty (aka Tess Violet), Magic of Rahat, Jenn Im of Clothes Encounters, and Brooke “Dodger” Leigh – became dorm-mates with a live video stream of their actions and interactions with the public. What was in their rooms? Target’s products, of course. By scrolling over the rooms, and clicking on the various rooms and items, viewers could interactively shop and purchase items directly from the site.

If it sounds a little like MTV’s Real World, it does have similarities as Target attempts to penetrate the digital universe of university students. Target wanted to move beyond commercials and ads and focus on the tactics that resonate the most with younger shoppers.

Is it worth it? Yes. The National Retail Federation estimated that back-to-college spending will yield $45.8 billion in sales, second only to the Christmas shopping season.  The average spending for dorm rooms will cost students an average of $104 on bedding, appliances, and supplies. Welcome back to school!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

1. Start with a discussion about shopping for supplies as a university student.

2. Poll students: What did they buy for returning to college? How much did they spend? What influenced their purchases?

3. Next, show the Target site and videos: http://abullseyeview.com/target-video-bullseye-university-back-to-college/

4. Divide students into groups. Have each group discuss how similar promotions could be developed for other milestones and special shopping occasions. (Ex: Weddings, births, birthdays, holidays, etc.)

5. Have teams define the target market, product mix, and how to promote the shoppable events.

Source:  Minneapolis Business Journal

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